(AsiaNews) - Hunan provincial authorities have launched a new probe into the
suspicious death on 4 June of Li Wangyang, a dissident who played a leading
role in the Tiananmen protest. He was found hanging in hospital whilst under
police guard. Initially, local
officials said he had committed suicide, but a wave of protests,
especially in Hong Kong, and pressure from public opinion "convinced" the
authorities to reopen the case.
from entrusting authoritative forensic experts from outside the province to
conduct an autopsy, [we] have launched a further probe by a team of experienced
criminal investigation experts," a spokesman for the Hunan provincial
public security bureau said yesterday.
announcement shows that the authorities no longer considered Li's death a
suicide or an accident.
spokesman admitted the probe was largely prompted by the persistent attention
and concern over Li's death by overseas media and the public.
was a labour activist in the 1980s. He spent 13 years in prison as a "counterrevolutionary"
because he had led a Workers Autonomous Federation in Shaoyang during the wave
of demonstrations that swept the country in 1989.
he was released in 2000 on medical ground, he was sentenced to an additional
ten years for "subversion".
body was found hanging on 6 June in a hospital room under police guard place
there because of the anniversary of the 4 June 1989 massacre.
friends and other dissidents reacted to the news of his death by demanding a
new inquiry into his death, even though they doubt much can come of it.
fact, the authorities cremated the body on 9 June, a procedure they use when
they want to eliminate all evidence about the violence inflicted on prisoners
and human rights activists.
dissident, Hu Jia, was also arrested for speaking to the foreign press about Li's
was held overnight by police. "The ostensible reason was because I gave
interviews to foreign media, particularly a face-to-face interview," he said.
However, "I am totally sure that they just want to limit my personal
who was released last year after serving a three-and-a-half jail term for
"subversion" is known as a go-between Chinese dissidents and foreign
played a crucial role in the case of Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer who was at
the centre of a diplomatic tug-of-war between Beijing and Washington. In fact,
he helped secure Chen's departure from China because of constant violation of
his human rights.
Chen is New York, Hu said he would like to visit his mother. "Since Guangcheng
left, his elderly mother has been on her own at home, with just the little dog
and a few chickens for company," Hu explained. "I want the old lady
to see her son's image."